The Abbey Sainte-Marie de Lagrasse, one of the most prestigious religious monuments in the South of France, is located in the South of France about 20 miles south-east of Carcassonne, in the Aude department of Languedoc-Roussillon. Founded in the 8th century, it enjoyed the protection of Emperor Charlemagne. It presents a veritable catalog of architecture, from the 10th to the 18th century, and bears the traces of eminent political and spiritual influence. Abandoned to deterioration over time since the French Revolution, devoid of all religious presence for years, would this jewel lose its importance as a testimonial of the past, in the 21st century that is so in need of roots and hope? In 2004, the regular Canons of the Mother of God took up the challenge. This young community -the average age of the canons is 43 years old-, now has 37 members. Their charism combines prayer, fraternal life, and the many forms of spiritual service and support that the world today thirsts for.
The community opens the Abbey to some 20,000 visitors a year and created the Association for the Safeguard and Development of the Lagrasse Abbey, a secular cultural association that organizes university-level conferences and produces summaries of them. At the heart of their activities, of course, is the gigantic project of restoring this abbey, which suffered greatly over the past two centuries. Through the FHS Fiscal Sponsorship Program this non-profit association will be able to develop its network and fundraising in the U.S. in order to continue major restoration work for the abbey.
Current Restoration Project
Increase accommodation capacity: 15 rooms (2019); Restore: The Bell Tower (2019-2020), The South Transept (2020-2022), The Abbey Church (2023-2025)
a 5-year campaign to raise $6.7 million